Staying safe this winter

Your safety is our priority, so we've put together some guidance to make sure that you're prepared to ride safely and warmly this winter.

Be safe, be seen

Being visible to all road users helps to keep you safe on the road.

Brightly coloured clothing, preferably fluorescent and reflective, and working lights help to ensure that other road users can see you.

If you’re on a bicycle it must be fitted with a white front light, a red rear light, a red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors (front and rear on each pedal).

Make sure you also have your helmet at all times – but remember to take off your helmet when you go into a restaurant, shopping centre, station or other building.

You can find info for cyclists in the Highway Code here.

Check your brakes and tyres

In wet conditions, bicycle rubber rim brake pads wear out faster. You can use harder or specialised materials to avoid changing pads constantly – or if possible, change to disk brakes.

Thicker bicycle tyres with deeper tread will give you greater grip on the road and provide more protection against punctures. Inner tubes filled with sealant are helpful, too. It’s always a good idea to to have a puncture repair kit and pump handy!

With more dirt and grime on the roads in the winter months, mudguards are especially useful.

If you use a scooter or car, you must have a proper set of winter tyres. This will make sure you have good grip on the roads on wet, cold and icy winter days.

Ride to the conditions

Ride with caution, allowing plenty of time to react in damp or icy conditions – remember, braking distances should be doubled in wet weather.

Avoid harsh braking (unless it’s an emergency) and brake progressively – ideally using your back brake if cycling. When taking a corner, it’s important to avoid braking and accelerate smoothly.

You can lower your bicycle saddle too, to provide more traction for the wheels and make it easier to put your feet flat on the ground if you need help stopping.

At this time of year, leaves, debris and dirt can build up at the side of the road and around drains, so be sure to watch out for these and choose a dry line where possible. Also, painted road markings and metal manhole covers can be particularly slippery.

Keep safe, dry and warm

Layering is key to keeping warm in the colder months. There are three main layers to help you keep warm.

Base Layer: The “keep-you-dry” layer. Starting at the skin, this layer should be soft, comfortable, thin and contain good wicking properties. Wicking is how the fabric draws liquid away from the skin towards the outer layers. It is important for moisture not to stay in contact with the skin.

Insulating Layer: The “keep-you-warm” layer. This layer includes shirt and trousers, and, depending upon weather conditions, you may need to add a vest as another insulating layer. Keep away from cotton fabrics, including jeans, as they absorb moisture. This layer should be loose fitting and light-weight, and have the ability to trap air, but allow moisture to pass through.

Outer Shell Layer: The “protect you from the elements” layer. This layer should be wind and water-proof, light weight and have the ability to breathe. Look for jackets that extend below the waist, and have elastic or drawstrings around the cuffs and hems.

See waterproofing tips here